Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Trail Cam Reveals . . .

. . . nothing new!
This time, we thought we had something interesting.  Scott positioned the trail camera near the mystery hole in the east pasture.  He was alarmed the other day when steam appeared to be escaping.  Was a fire-breathing varmint burrowing to nest underground?  The trail camera recorded over 500 images within a two-day span.  Guess what?
More raccoons!

Oh well.  We'll keep our fingers crossed that a coyote, cougar, or moose happens past one of these days (as long as we're at a safe distance, of course.

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

Waking up early during the work week may not be fun but at noTTafarm, the wake-up call is tempered by the wonderful views from the windows in our bedroom.  Even though it's dark when I get up, by the time I'm showered and getting dressed, the sun is on the rise.  It can be distracting especially when the deer are enjoying breakfast.  This morning's sunrise did not disappoint!
Goodbye, November!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Concrete Details

Saturday, November 19, my wake-up call came courtesy of the construction crew arriving to pour concrete in the barn.  As is typical for this contractor, the work was scheduled to begin at 7:30 AM (which seems early to me but I'm new to this up-with-the-chickens country lifestyle.)  Luckily, Scott was up and ready to help get the work underway.
 An overcast sky greeted the construction crew as they arrived to pour concrete in the lean-to area of the barn.
 By the time I made it out to check on things around 8:30, the floor was ready and waiting for the concrete to arrive.  After leveling the dirt, a plastic vapor barrier and a grid of rebar were added to support the concrete.
 Scott tried (unsuccessfully) to convince the contractor to leave the Bobcat behind for a month or two.
 The concrete truck arrived just before 10 AM.
The four-man concrete crew kept the wheelbarrows moving.
The concrete was poured by the wheelbarrow-full in the back (east) end of the barn as the crew worked toward the west door.  The guys worked quickly (and quietly) to smooth the surface.

 They kept pouring and smoothing until they worked themselves down the hallway.  
Terry (the contractor) suggested filling in the manure troughs in the main part of the barn, too.  Now, that portion of the barn has an even floor which will make the space much more usable. 
By 12:30, the work was done and the crew had moved on to their next assignment (or perhaps to watch the Nebraska vs. Michigan game . . . but let's not discuss that one.)
 When the coast was clear, Scott sneaked in to leave his mark.
It's Official!  
The concrete is done and the barn will be much more functional.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Light at the End of the Tunnel . . .

. . . is the glow from my television screen and computer monitor!

I know I skipped a week of posting - maybe you didn't notice - but we've been taking it rather slow here at noTTafarm.  Scott has been spending the majority of his free time working with the various media cables he has fed throughout the walls of the house.  The wires are all converging in the basement where the magic that is satellite television and Internet access happens.  I don't understand how most of this happens (I'm still trying to figure out how a toaster works) but here are some of the action shots from the past week:

Leo helps Scott "make up" a cable in the small bedroom/temporary home office.  Scott has been using all of the cool tools that Troy dropped off two weeks ago to get the cables and outlets prepared for duty.

On a wall in the 1920 portion of the basement, Scott mounted a piece of sub-floor to create a Patch Panel - which is a fancy name for a place where all the cables go to live and make life better.
Each type of cable is sheathed in a different color.  Blue is for Internet, Red is for Plain Old Telephone , and Black and White are for Satellite.
The computer network cable is Cat 6 Ethernet, comprised of four twisted pair wires.

"Orange/white, orange, green/white, blue, blue/white, green, brown/white, brown"  This is the order of the T568B wiring standard sequence used with the Cat 6 cable...they have to be placed "just so" inside the slip-on jack in order for the magic to happen.

The cables are grouped together and run through the joists in the basement then up through the wall cavities to outlets in the library, parlor, bedroom, home office, and beyond. ...available, even if they'll never all be used at once.
By Thursday, November 17, Scott is nearly finished.  The two black boxes on the left are the modem/router and the 16-port, 10/100 Mbps hub switch.  The black cables in the center are for satellite television (which is finally going to be hooked-up by Direct TV on Saturday!) 
The phone lines converge in the 8-port punch-down telephone expansion module.  Yes, youngsters, we will have plenty of land line phones for you to use to dial up your pals.

Stay Tuned for Our Next High Tech Adventure! 
(But I may be busy watching TV. . . so be patient.  It's been a quiet few weeks!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

And Then, On Sunday . . .

. . . more visitors!  The beauty that is noTTafarm beckons people from far and wide to visit.  My parents, Ray and Jolene, picked a perfectly lovely autumn Sunday to visit from Kearney, bringing along our niece Chelsie and her special friend Chris.  After brunch, we started a bonfire and the boys got busy feeding it with scraps torn from the barn on Saturday.  We took a nature walk, saw some deer and turkey, did a tiny bit of shopping - then in a flash, it was time for them to leave for the drive home!  We'll see them all in a few weeks when we meet in Kearney for a Ward family Thanksgiving.
 Dad helped me load the trays back into the incubators.  Tim and Carl wrestled these out of the barn on Saturday to make room for the concrete.  We need to find a nifty way to replace these 60 year old cabinets!
 Chelsie was the photographer during our nature walk on the west slope.
Chelsie and Chris get the fire going.
Chelsie and Chris

Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Furniture: It Makes a House a Home!

With the installation of our beautiful new library and parlor floor complete, all we needed was a little help to finally move the furniture from the storage container into the house.  We were so very lucky to have a great group of volunteers on-hand Saturday, November 5th willing to flex their muscles and spend a little time with us.
Oh sure, we have furniture...but now we need drywall repair, paint, baseboards, wood trim, new ceiling fixtures, etc., etc.!  At least we have a place to read the Sunday paper.

Special thanks to Tim, Carl and Marita, Jeff, and Ken 
for pitching in and making quick work of the task. 

What would we do without our wonderful friends and family?

As Predicted: Barnaggedon!

The old barn will soon be getting a little bit of new life in the form of a poured concrete floor in the former stables lean-to. This area has always had a dirt floor, and though divided into three stalls, had most recently been a storage area where long-lost tools rested foot-deep in old manure and stale hay. Sounds delightful, right? Luckily, my little brother Tim and Scott's big brother Jeff offered their services on Saturday for a little clean-up session. Knowing my need for themed activities, Tim settled on the name "Barnaggedon" for the day of dirt and destruction.
Jeff surveys the stables prior to de-construction.  Most of the weathered wood and the stall gates have been saved for future projects. 

Jeff and Tim made quick work of dismantling the stalls.

Carl and his trusty hammer were called in for nail removal service, 
once again.  

Once the stalls were removed, Scott added a few supporting beams.  When the concrete is finished, he'll work on shoring up more of the barn's structure.
The concrete work may begin on Tuesday, November 8 but with a forecast calling for rain, we may experience a short delay. In the meantime, be sure to check out the noTTafarm Archeology page for photos of the day's finds.
Stay Tuned for More!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

To Catch You Up . . .

Faithful blog followers:
The past 6 days have been a blur of packing, loading, hauling, lifting, shoving, and cleaning.  I'm not sure of much except that we got moved and we're still married.  Here are a few details to catch you up on the progress:

1.)  New People:  Scott and I met Kevin and Sara, the new owners of Grant Street, during the final walk-through of the property on Thursday the 27th.  We couldn't be happier that they couldn't be happier to be the new owners of the house we loved for so long.  I know we'll stay in touch - at least until I retrieve the drawer-full of utensils left behind in the kitchen.  (I miss those wooden spoons!)

2.)  Refinished Floors:  Meanwhile, back at noTTafarm, the crew completed the process of refinishing the upstairs floors early Thursday, the 27th.  They look fantastic!  The floors were sanded, patched, and finished with three coats of a water-based sealant.
Scott checks out the sanded and patched Douglas fir floor.

The refinishers kept us off the floors with a warning sign and a piece of masking tape.  We cheated slightly and moved our bedroom furniture upstairs Saturday afternoon (though they suggested we wait until Sunday.)

3.)  Trailer Time:  The trailer came in handy - even in the dark - as we loaded it down with whatever we could lift.  We took a trip to noTTafarm from Grant Street each evening before the movers came Thursday the 27th plus it came in handy on Friday for our final clean-up day.  Scott hopes to take a break from using tie-downs for a while, and the trailer deserves a break for now.
Loading the trailer by the light of the Grant Street garage.

4.)  Moving Day:  Thursday, October 27th, was the big day.  We were smart enough to realize that we should use professional help so contracted with "Two Men and a Truck" to do the heavy lifting.  Our crew of Marque and Chris was great; very polite, smart, fast, and strong!  The process began just before 9AM and ended at around 4PM with the noTTafarm basement and library packed to the gills.
The figures in the logo look slightly happier than we did after a long day of moving.

Marque and Chris did a super job!

noTTafarm's library room, "after."

5.) Nerd Alert!: Our friend Troy paid a visit to noTTafarm later on Thursday to teach Scott a thing or two about the installation of telecommunications and audiovisual cabling. In addition to a few bottles of his most recent homebrew, Troy brought Scott his very own toolbox, stuffed with every kind of pliers, snippers, strippers, and cable ends a boy could ever dream of. Now for the fun part . . . Scott needs to get ready for the satellite TV guy's appointment this coming Saturday (Nov. 5). Can you imagine? I haven't had a TV to watch (or a couch to lay on, for that matter) for nearly a week!
Troy presents Scott with his AV toolbox.

6.) Home: We were close-to-homeless part of the week when we were caught between an nearly-empty house and a house with almost-finished flooring. Luckily, Scott and I took advantage of the warm hospitality of his mom and dad; after all, Carl and Marita are our new neighbors, living just over the hill and down the road a stretch from noTTafarm. Marita cooked dinner for us, and Scott spent quality time with his folks watching the Saint Louis Cardinals take the World Series. They were a huge help, too, each day - taking car loads of stuff from one house to the other and helping tote furniture up the noTTafarm stairs. And while we enjoyed staying with them, nothing made us feel better than to sleep in our own bed in our new big bedroom.
Note the pretty newly refinished floors...such a cozy space!

7.) Beautiful Birch: Today (Tuesday, November 1), the installation of the library and parlor wood floors began. As I described in an earlier post, the birch is 3/4" solid wood and has a hand-scraped finish. As I type this, the parlor is complete and the library is nearly half done. Matt and Gus estimated that they would be finished by 3PM Wednesday. Then, we will begin the process of moving our furniture out of the big storage container parked on the driveway. Even better, after the flooring is finished, we will get to bring Leo to noTTafarm to stay! We've missed our little kitty but are so happy that Gramma and Grampa Camp have been taking good care of him.
Ready to take off the truck.
Parlor floor - before. 
Parlor floor Tuesday night.
Library floor Tuesday night.

We still have alot of work to do but I think we've made amazing progress when you consider that two months ago, we were still debating on whether it was time to sell our house in the city. Scott and I are certainly grateful for all of the love and help we've received; we could not have gotten through the moving process without the help from our friends and family. We both look forward to the day when the house is "done" and we can welcome overnight guests to noTTafarm. In the meantime, stop by anytime!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!